What are regulations/ requirements for liferaft as per SOLAS?

As per SOLAS Chapter 3, Regulation 38 ,General requirements for liferafts

 Liferaft fittings
  1. Lifelines shall be securely becketed around the inside and outside of the liferaft.
  2. The liferaft shall be fitted with an efficient painter of length equal to not less than twice the distance from the stowed position to the waterline In the lightest seagoing condition or 15 m whichever is the greater.
Davit-launched liferafts
  1. In addition to the above requirements, a liferaft for use with an approved launching appliance shall:
    • when the liferaft is loaded with its full complement of persons and equipment, be capable of withstanding a lateral impact against the ship’s side at an impact velocity of not less than 3.5 m/s and also a drop into the water from a height of not less than 3 m without damage that will affect its function;
    • be provided with means for bringing the liferaft alongside the embarkation deck and holding it securely during embarkation.
  2. Every passenger ship davit-launched liferaft shall be so arranged that it can be rapidly boarded by its full complement of persons.
  3. Every cargo ship davit-launched liferaft shall be so arranged that it can be boarded by its full complement or persons in not more than 3 min from the time the instruction to board is given.

The normal equipment or every liferaft shall consist of:

  1. one buoyant rescue quoit, attached to not less than 30 m of buoyant line;
  2. one knife of the non-folding type having a buoyant handle and lanyard attached and stowed in a pocket on the exterior of the canopy near the point at which the painter is attached to the liferaft.
  3. In additions a liferaft which is permitted to accommodate 13 persons or more shall be provided with a second knife which need not be of the non-folding type;
  4. for a liferaft which is permitted to accommodate not more than 12 persons, one buoyant bailer. For a liferaft which is permitted to accommodate 13 persons or more, two buoyant bailers;
  5. two sponges;
  6. two sea-anchors each with a shock-resistant hawser and tripping line, one being spare and the other permanently attached to the liferaft in such a way that when the liferaft inflates or is waterborne it will cause the liferaft to lie oriented to the wind in the most stable manner. The strength of each sea-anchor and its hawser and tripping line shall be adequate for all sea conditions. The sea-anchors shall be fitted with a swivel at each end or the line and shall be of a type which is unlikely to turn inside-out between its shroud lines;
  7. two buoyant paddles;
  8. three tin-openers (safety knives containing special tin-opener blades are satisfactory for this requirements);
  9. one first-aid outfit in a waterproof case capable of being closed tightly after use;
  10. one whistle or equivalent sound signal;
  11. four rocket parachute flares complying with the requirements of regulation 35;
  12. six hand flares complying with the requirements of regulation 36;
  13. 12 two buoyant smoke signals complying with the requirements of regulation 37;
  14. one waterproof electric torch suitable for Morse signaling, together with one spare set of batteries and one spare bulb in a waterproof container;
  15. an efficient radar reflector, unless a survival craft radar transponder is stowed in the liferaft;
  16. one daylight signaling mirror with instructions on its use for signaling to ships and aircraft;
  17. one copy of the life-saving signals referred to in regulation V/16 on a waterproof card or in a waterproof container;
  18. one set of fishing tackle;
  19. a food ration totaling not less than 10,000 kJ for each person the liferaft is permitted to accommodate; these rations shall be kept in airtight packaging and be stowed in a watertight container;
  20. watertight receptacles containing a total or 1.5L of fresh water for each person the liferaft is permitted to accommodate, of which 0.5L per person may be replaced by a de-salting apparatus capable of producing an equal amount of fresh water in 2 days;
  1. one rustproof graduated drinking vessel;
  2. six doses of anti-seasickness medicine and one seasickness bag for each person the liferaft is permitted to accommodate;
  3. instructions on how to survive;
  4. instructions for immediate action;
  5. thermal protective aids complying with the requirements of regulation 34 sufficient for l0% of the number of persons the liferaft is permitted to accommodate or two, whichever is the greater.
  6. The marking required by regulations 39and 40 on liferafts equipped , shall be SOLAS A PACK in block capitals of the Roman alphabet.
  1. In the case of passenger ships engaged on short international voyages of such a nature and duration that, in the opinion of the Administration, not all the items specified above  are necessary, the Administration may allow the liferafts carried on any such ships to be provided with the equipment specified in above  paragraphs inclusive.
  2.  The marking required by regulations and 40.7.7 on such liferaft shall be SOLAS B PACK in block capitals of the Roman alphabet.( HALF OF EQUIPMENTS AS SPECIFIED FOR SOLAS A PACK.)
  3. Where appropriate the equipment shall be stowed in a container which, if it is not an integral part of, or permanently attached to, the liferaft, shall be stowed and secured inside the liferaft and be capable of floating in water for at least 30 min without damage to its contents.


About the author

Amit Sharma

Graduated from M.E.R.I. Mumbai (Mumbai University), After a brief sailing founded this website with the idea to bring the maritime education online which must be free and available for all at all times and to find basic solutions that are of extreme importance to a seafarer by our innovative ideas.